What are the Different Types of Tai Chi Exercises?

Bryon Turcotte

Tai chi, a martial art that originated in China, is most often practiced to relieve stress and to improve overall health. Tai chi's five unique styles — Ch'en, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun Style — were aptly named after the families who originally taught the method. Since there are hundreds of forms, movements or postures associated which each style of this art, an infinite amount Tai chi exercises come to be a part of the practice, but a few are common to the average practitioner.

Tai chi exercises are beneficial to a person's mind, body, and spirit.
Tai chi exercises are beneficial to a person's mind, body, and spirit.

One of the most popular Tai chi exercises used to lose weight is called The Swimming Dragon. This exercise, from the chi Kung form, benefits muscles, and helps to regulate important energy in the body. This exercise causes the body to twist and move as if in a swimming motion. This helps the central nervous system and massages the internal organs used for digestion, and breathing. In turn this affects overall metabolism, posture and can improve skin tone.

Some tai chi moves massages the internal organs, promoting digestion.
Some tai chi moves massages the internal organs, promoting digestion.

Swinging Arms, translated from the Chinese word Shuaishou, is another of the simplest Tai chi exercises. In this exercise, the upper body twists at the waist, the knees bend, and the arms swing in tandem, which affects the joints of the arms and legs, in addition to massaging the internal organs. This exercise is commonly used as a warm up or preparation for more intense exercises but should not be underestimated because of its simplicity. This is one of the simple Tai chi exercises that can be performed in minutes or be extended up to 30 minutes or so if desired.

Finally, a simple and one of the most common Tai chi exercises is called Tai chi standing meditation. This exercise requires the individual to stand postured in a way, which helps the body find balance. This exercise helps the individual focus, eliminate negative thoughts that are stored in the mind, and help the soul reach stillness, peace and serenity. As simple and unappealing as this exercise may sound, it has been used to enhance the internal energy of Tai chi masters for generations.

In the world of martial art, generations of time combined with styles, technique, and form have helped to develop many additional Tai Chi exercises that are practiced by people from all walks of life and many backgrounds around the world. As some of the most common seem to be simple and questionably effective, those may prove to be the most powerful and beneficial to ones mind, soul and spirit.

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